Happy Memorial of Saint Lucy

Saint Lucy holding a platter with eyes on itSaint Lucy, whose name comes from the Latin word meaning “light” is a popular saint. Her memorial is celebrated today.

Saint Lucy is unique in that she is one of only seven women, aside from the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is commemorated by name in the Roman Canon of the Mass.  Lucy was a Christian martyr during the persecution of Christians by the emperor Diocletian. She consecrated her virginity to God, and refused to marry a pagan she had been engaged to. She even distributed her wedding dowry to the poor. Her pagan groom, upset with her decision, turned her in to the governor of Syracuse, Sicily.

Tradition tells is that when the guards came to take her away to be executed, she was so filled with the Holy Spirit that she was so heavy even the strong guards could not move her. So they hitched her to a team of oxen, which didn’t work either. Even after they pierced her throat with a dagger, she prophesied against her persecutors. Later traditions mention an eye-gouging that came next, right before her execution. Because of this, she is the patroness of the blind and those with eye troubles.

Because of the meaning of her name, many customs and celebrations developed on St. Lucy’s Day, especially in Scandinavia. In one custom, popular in Sweden, a girl wears a wreath with candles on her head and passes out candy to children. Many other countries have similar traditions, and they seem to relate to the theme of light in the midst of the winter darkness.

Saint Lucy, pray for us!

About David Bennett

David Bennett is an author, speaker, and small business owner. He started ChurchYear.Net in 2004, along with his brother Jonathan. The site gets over one million visitors a year, and Bennett's writings have appeared in church bulletins, newspapers, and other media.

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